My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Tracy Byrd – ‘Ten Rounds’

TenroundsTracy Byrd’s second album for RCA Nashville, Ten Rounds, saw a reversal of commercial fortunes that got Byrd back in the game at a time when he needed the support of country radio to remain relevant. Released in 2001, the album was once again co-produced by Billy Joe Walker, Jr.

A Rivers Rutherford co-written slice of terrible country rock entitled “Good Way To Get On My Bad Side,” a duet with Mark Chesnutt, was issued as the lead single. Hardly memorable and wholly generic, the track peaked at #21. While the track could be seen as an early indication of the genre’s future, Walker and Byrd get one thing right – the loudness, despite heavy electric guitars, is kept to a minimum.

The Spanish flavored “Just Let Me Be In Love” returned Byrd to the top ten for the first time in three years when it peaked at #9. Byrd returns to form here with a triple punch – memorable lyric, forceful vocal, and wonderfully listenable production.

The third and final single, “Ten Rounds With Jose Cuevro,” a lively honky-tonker, topped the charts giving Byrd his first number one single in eight years and his second chart topper to date. The ruckus nature of the track coupled with Byrd’s immersion into the character helped propel the single’s success at radio. While the novelty wears off after repeated listenings, the track isn’t without modest commercial charms.

The remainder of Ten Rounds balances tenderly produced ballads with rowdy up-tempo numbers. The latter group leaves much to be desired, especially “Summertime Fever” and “Somebody’s Dream,” which are pure dreck. Thankfully the other uptempo numbers are far more listenable and delicately produced.

The former provide moments where Ten Rounds shines as bright as it’s going to with tracks that are great, but nothing revelatory. Surprisingly, three of them are covers – “Wildfire” is the Michal Martin Murphy song from the 70s, “How Much Does The World Weigh” was previously recorded by Sammy Kershaw, and “Keeper of the Stars” is an updated version of his signature song. The covers are good, but he brings nothing new to them except for “Keeper of the Stars,” which comes off more country than the original. “Needed,” as close to neo-traditional as the record gets is good, too.

All and all Ten Rounds is a squarely commercial country album aimed at positioning Byrd as a major player for continued airplay on country radio. While that objective was achieved, Byrd and Walker could’ve amassed a far more memorable collection of songs that were stronger both sonically and lyrically. As it stands, Ten Rounds is nothing more than a mixed bag that gets more wrong than right.

Grade: B-

5 responses to “Album Review: Tracy Byrd – ‘Ten Rounds’

  1. Razor X July 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

    “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” was the first track I ever downloaded from iTunes. A co-worker wanted a bottle of a new Jose Cuervo product for her 40th birthday, so I downloaded the track and burned it to a CD and gave it to her along with the bottle. I’ve never listened to the entire album but I do really like this song.

  2. luckyoldsun July 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I must have heard the single at some point, but the only Jose Cuervo song that I can conjure up in my head is the one by Shelly West.

  3. Leeann Ward August 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I had a college roommate who was obsessed with this sog.

  4. Leeann Ward August 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    OOps! The rest of my comment didn’t go through!

    I had this CD when I was in college and had a college roommate who was obsessed with “Jose Quervo.” She would play it over and over again! It’s amazing that I still like the song after hearing it so many times. I did eventually end up jst giving her the CD to keep though.:)

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